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Upswell Pop-Up #1: The Importance of Prioritizing Yourself: Recharge, Refuel, and Refocus.  

May 3, 2022

Prioritizing yourself in a nonstop world is difficult, we often think about ourselves last, which can lead to a burnout. Taking time to focus on your own care before caring for others can seem like a burden. It is not! Making space for thoughtfulness, reflection, and reevaluation is most important for you as we continue to collaborate to build a healthy sector and racially just nation where all can thrive.    

During Pop-Up #1, sponsored by the Center for Creative Learning, one of the sponsors of 2022 Upswell events, we were reminded that without a healthy mind, body, and spirit, we can’t collectively build a healthy and racially just nation. We must recharge, refuel, and refocus in order to care for our communities, deal with anxiety of the world around us, manage our families, and handle collective grief.  

On the Main Stage

Watch: Prioritizing Wellness in Service to Others - YouTube

Dan Cardinal, President and CEO of Independent Sector moderated the Prioritizing Wellness in Service to Others Main Stage session with Dive in Well CEO and Founder Maryam Ajayi, and Religion & Society Program at the Aspen Institute Executive Director Dr. Simran Singh to discuss how each of us can pull on our own ancestral or spiritual practices to balance self and community care necessary to build healthy and just communities.  

  • "When you strengthen your ability to make the right decisions over and over, that’s liberation."- Dr. Simran Singh 
  • “We live in a world, where you can’t make a mistake, you can’t get things wrong and if you do, you’re in trouble. There’s no space for vulnerability or humility." - Dr. Simran Singh 
  • "If we can learn to see the #humanity in those most different from us, we can learn to see the humanity in everyone we meet, and that includes us." - Dr. Simran Singh 
  • “When you strengthen your ability to make the right decisions over and over, that’s liberation." – Dr. Simran Jeet Singh
  • “The work is not to fix, but to make progress." - Maryam Ajayi
  • "Theory without action doesn’t mean anything." - Maryam Ajayi
  • “When you’re doing the work, if you’re not ruffling feathers, you’re probably not doing the work.” -Maryam Ajayi
  • “I can’t fill anyone else’s cup if mine is empty.” -Maryam Ajayi

Following the Main Stage, participants had their choice of two workshops. One about healing through self-care and another about honoring the concept of rest. They also saw two brief videos with suggestions about how to handle anxiety, produced by the Center for Creative Learning.  

Workshop #1

Watch: Time to Clean Out Your Side of the Street - YouTube

Ebonie Freeman, Site Director for AlphaBEST Education and Dr. Christine Balarezo, 2020 NGen Fellows Alumni and Founder of Christine Balarezo LLC took a different approach to self-care and focused on self-healing and doing inner work that requires us to hold space for others. They explored how we must heal our traumas, as well as the known and unknown biases, as some of them may be what is triggering us in the work we do each day.

  • "When we acknowledge our known and unknown biases, that is part of working towards
    self-awareness." - Ebonie Freeman
  • "The pandemic only highlighted the need and intentionality of self-care." - Dr. Christine Balarezo

Workshop #2

Watch: You are Not What You Produce: Honoring Labor & Rest - YouTube

Two leaders from Chicago Cares

Kelly Pattermann Director, People and Operations at Chicago Cares and Cheyenne Shelby-Petersen, Senior Manager of Programs, Volunteer Engagement at Chicago Cares led a deep dive into exploring the concept of honoring labor, rest, and the individuals who put forth hard work every day. They shared their ongoing journeys to recognize and honor employees as whole people.

  • "Having organizations that support mental health and well-being goes a long way with retention. Company policies must continue to evolve to center on the lives of employees." - Kelly Pattermann
  • “We were so focused on production externally that we were burning employees out.” - Kelly Pattermann

Following the workshops, participants were led in an Exchange to share their thoughts about what they heard by CCL lady, and the other lady.

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